S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 55 Number 1/3 (2019)
Be-Insertion in Interlanguage: A Topic Marker, A Tense/Agreement Morpheme, or Both?
- Nam, Bora
- Issue Date
- Language Research, Vol.55 No.3, pp. 555-577
- In L2 production, be-forms are often inserted before thematic verbs (e.g., She is study hard). There have been two hypotheses concerning the function of be-forms, that they are topic markers transferred from L1 or tense/agreement morphemes.
This study examines the explanatory adequacy of the two hypotheses by comparing acceptability judgments and self-paced listening between Korean and Russian EFL learners. The results support neither hypothesis completely.
Contrary to the Topic Marker Hypothesis, both L2 groups accepted be-insertion after non-topic as well as topic subjects. Against the T/AGR Morpheme Hypothesis, participants also accepted be-insertion after topicalized non-subjects.
These results suggest that be-forms can have two functions simultaneously, and thus the two hypotheses must not be considered mutually exclusive. The data also call into question the role of L1 transfer, suggesting that the phenomenon may reflect a universal L2 strategy.